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The two RV Gypsies at
Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

(some history and photos)
May 14, 2009
The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was established by Congress in 1982 to protect natural features and processes and provide access for recreation, research and education. It is internationally renowned for the study of earth processes and ecosystem recovery following large-scale disturbance.
Mount St. helens national Volvanic Monument
Karen Duquette at the Mount St. helens national Volvanic Monument
Below: Lee Duquette, the snow alongside the road, and several small waterfalls glistening down the mountainside.
Lee Duquette and MOB
snow by the road
snow by the road
a small waterfall
a small waterfall
another small waterfall
a bridge
May 18, 1980 Eruption Facts
At 8:32 a.m. on May 18, 1980, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake shook Mount St. Helens, triggering a massive explosion.
The release of gases trapped inside the volcano sent 1,300 vertical feet of mountaintop rocketing outward to the north. Where did the top of the volcano go? Not up in ash, but down into the valleys below.
The mountain lost 1,300 feet of height and 0.67 cubic miles of total volume.
Super heated ash roared 60,000 feet into a cloudless blue sky - winds reached 670 miles per hour and temperatures reached 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
The eruption leveled 230-square miles of forest in less than ten (10) minutes.
The eruption began with a massive landslide (debris avalanche) that buried 14 miles of river valley to an average depth of 150 feet.
The landslide released trapped magma and gas, producing a sideways explosion (lateral blast) of hot rock and ash killing trees up to 17 miles north of the volcano.
Cement-like slurries of glacial melt water and boulders scoured and buried streams draining the volcano.
A vertical ash eruption rose to a height of 15-miles above the crater and continued for 9-hours. Ash drifted to the northeast.
Fiery avalanches of pumice and hot gasses (called pyroclastic flows) flowed into the valley north of the crater.
Fifty-seven (57) people were killed including USGS Scientist David Johnston, namesake of Johnston Ridge Observatory.
Elk, deer and other wildlife were obliterated.
chart of the layout of the area
It is not easy to define exactly what is in each of the following photos; therefore a chart of the area is shown above, so you can compare each of the photos below with the chart above.
an overview
lava dome
Ponder the dramatic change that took place on May 18, 1980, and the more subtle changes that have taken place each day since then. These photos were taken by the two RV Gypsies on May 14, 2009 almost 29 years to the day after the event.
devestation
devestation
IMAGINE: The lateral blast slammed into Johnston Ridge with such force that whole forests were knocked down and carried away.
devestation
devestation
devestation
devestation
The stumps below tell a tale of the blast. These were once trees that stood 150 feet tall and were surrounded by a beautiful forest of green and growing trees.
tree stumps
tree stumps
The north side of the mountain collapsed when the 5/1 magnitude earthquake rumbled beneath Mount St. Helens.
chart of the mountain collapsing
Momentum carried part of the avalanche up and over Johnston Ridge, just a few hundred yards from these photos below.
overview
overview
In less than 10 minutes, the avalanche swept 14 miles down the South Coldwater and North Toutle River Valleys.
overview of lava path
overview of lava path
overview of lava path
overview of lava path
overview of lava path
overview of lava path
overview of lava path
overview of lava path
overview
overview
a fiery mountain of many names
Throughout time, many names have been given and many stories have been told about this mountain. In the 1700's Captain George Vancouver named it Mount St. Helens, after a British diplomat. The Cowlitz Indian people call her LAW-WE-LAT-KLAH, "Smoker", and through storytelling have passed down how the volcano came to be.....
close-up of mountain
overview
mountain
overview
overview
overview
overview 
overview
Lee on Johnston Ridge, elevation 4,314 feet - - & the snowy roads below Johnston Ridge
Lee Duquette on Johnston Ridge
view of the road from elevation of 4,314 feet
From the damaged area where Lee is standing, Mt. Saint Helens is actually another five miles straight ahead.
Mt. Saint Helens is actually 5 miles from this photo
Mtount St. Helens sign
sign - leaving Mtount St. Helens
Forever changing over 200 square miles of rich forest land into a gray, lifeless landscape, the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens has had an impact so powerful, you have to see it to believe it. The two RV Gypsies were totally in awe of the devastation that they observed. Live life to the fullest - tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone.
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The two RV Gypsies returned to Mount St. Helens in 2013 - the difference is amazing! To see those photos, Click here, but remember to return back to this page to continue the adventures of the two RV Gypsies as they entered British Columbia, Canada and Alaska and then back into the USA in Montana and many other places as they worked their way back to south Florida.

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go to the next adventure of the two RV Gypsies
Finally, after traveling about 2-1/2 months, the two RV Gypsies have reached British Columbia, Canada and getting that much closer to their destination - Alaska